How it sucks to be a PC gamer in Japan

You may consider Japan is one of the best country to live in if you are a gamer. This is true.(If you are otaku of course) Most of JRPGs are produced in Japan, some world’s the most famous gaming companies are found in Japan, Eroges are almost exclusive for Japanese and there are gaming arcades in every single town. It could be better place than heaven if you are otaku gamer.

However, the heaven for gamers will turn into hell if you are a PC gamer. I’ll explain why.

Almost no Japanese games are available on STEAM

This is one of the worst reason why it sucks to be a PC gamer in Japan. As you may know, some Japanese companies, such as: SEGA, KONAMI, TECMO KOEI GAMES, publishes games on Steam. You know what? NONE of games published by these companies are available on STEAM. You can’t purchase games developed by your own country, in your own language. You can not even activate Metal Gear Rising if you are connecting from Japanese IP address, which means if you felt sorry to me for reading this article and decided to send me a gift of Metal Gear Rising, I can NOT activate it because I live in Japan.


Imagine if Valve finished Half Life 3, but decided not to sell it to people who are connecting from U.S. IP address. You will be outraged(If you are meh, replace it with Halo 6, S.T.A.L.K.E.R.2 or anything you love). That is what is happening in Japan. If you wish to play games developed or published by those companies listed above, you have to purchase physical copy for PS4, PS3, Xbox or Xbone.

I have absolutely no idea why they are doing this. I would purchase MGS:R for $30 if I can play it on PC while used copy of MGR for PS3 is available for as low as $6. They are somehow refusing Japanese to pay for them, ignoring cash cow.

I once contacted those companies, but all reply I got was “This is not our problem, ask STEAM”, “We consider it”, or no reply. This have to be stopped. I once asked directly to Kojima Production’s twitter account to see if MGR will be available on Steam, but the reply was “There’s no information for that.”

My biggest concern for now is that if MGS5 will be available for global price on Steam for Japanese. Since MGR is not available nor activate-able for Japanese, MGS5 will likely be banned for Japanese as well. I tweeted Kojima Hideo directly to ask if MGS5 will be available for Japanese, but I probably won’t get reply unless my mention get re-tweeted million times or something.

Even some Japanese Indie games are not available on Steam as well. Fairy Bloom Freesia is one of these. This game is developed in Japanese by Japanese, and published by Capcom US and not available for purchase for Japanese. On developer’s website, they have statement about this issue. According to this, they contacted publisher to make it available for Japanese, but it was refused due to Capcom US’s intention.

Most games published by Japanese companies are a rip off

If you are Australian, you may understand this. Most games published by Japanese companies are a rip off. Here are some examples.

Call of Duty Black Ops 2(and most CoD series) is $99.99 (Doesn’t even include Japanese) and Dead Rising 3 is $62.99 while $44.90 in U.S., and so on…

Well, these rip offs are very common nowadays for Steam users living outside of U.S., so it won’t surprise you. We do understand that every countries have different currency rate, minimum wages. Something economic stuffs are pushing steam or developer/publisher to rip off. However,how about this: Thief is $49.99 while U.S. is $29.99, but for this game, Square Enix deleted Japanese language and selling “Japanese Language Pack” as DLC for $19.99. This DLC only appears if you are connecting from Japan. If you wish to play this game subtitled, you have to pay total of $69.98! That is one of the cheapest idea I have heard! They would do so well if they were ISP or Telecommunications company.

Dark Souls 2 is one of the worst as well. Dark Souls 2 is $79.99 while U.S. price is $49.99. Unlike titles above, this game was developed by Japanese company in Japanese. If Square Enix assumed that prices are higher because of translation fee, it is understandable (I still am not going to purchase them though), but for Dark Souls 2, it has higher price for no reason. Not only the price, they somehow deleted Black Armor Weapons Pack for Japanese. The weapon pack gives you some extra items at the start of the game. Those weapon won’t give you any advantage as the weapons are so weak, but it is pain to know that I cannot get them for being Japanese.

VPN won’t solve the problem

Some people suggested me to use VPN to purchase those blocked games. It works sometime, but not all the time.

It is not recommended to use VPN to purchase games on Steam from Japan as Japanese for some reasons.

1.It risks your account.

Although not many people cares about it and using VPN to purchase blocked games, using VPN on Steam is not allowed by Valve. It means it risks your account, and I know a guy who got banned & lost all his games for it. Purchasing keys at game key store and use VPN to activate is not okay as well.

2.Some games have two different versions

Some games, like Dark souls 2 has different versions. If you purchase Dark souls 2 from Japan, you get “Dark Souls 2 JP”. It contains Japanese Language. If you purchase Dark Souls 2 from North America, you get “Dark souls 2″ It DOES NOT contain Japanese language.

Yes. Publishers know that Japanese consumers can use VPN to purchase games cheaper, so they separated the game into different versions, and deleted Japanese.

3.You will need U.S. issued credit card and address.

If you managed to install VPN on your computer, it is not yet over. You will need U.S. issued credit card and address to purchase. Well, this can be passed by purchasing VISA gift card and entering fake address, but since using VPN on Steam is forbidden, I don’t recommend it if you love your game library.

Japanese PC games are way tooooo expensive.

This probably is the reason why some Japanese games on Steam are so expensive. Because PC market in Japan is small for its popularity of consoles (Console games were 4 times popular than PC games in 2009, maybe more in 2014), PC games cost a lot more than average global price.

For example, A-train 9 is starting from 6,800 yen($68) to 10,000 yen($100) with all the DLCs. Still better than Thief or Dark Souls 2? No. The game was released in 2010 and it still costs $53 for standard edition. 2010 is the year Fallout New Vegas, Civilization V, Starcraft 2 were released! How can 4 years old game be sold at full price?!

By the way, A-train 9 is available on Steam also, so if you love company managing game like Cities in Motion, you might want to try it. It doesn’t contain Japanese language though. Its funny that translating Japanese game into English and German made the game cheaper.

Another example is Nobunaga’s Ambition. This game is sold at multiple platforms, PS4, PS3, VITA and PC. Price varies by platform, and it is as follows.

Vita:7,800 yen
PS4:8,800 yen
PS3:8,800 yen
PC:9,800 yen

Why. Just why.

Even “Pro Cycling Manager 2012:English version of the game with Japanese manual” is sold for $51. What the actual fuck?

I really hope to end these craziness nightmare soon. Raising price for translating or for matching full price in Japan can be understood, but blocking games developed in Japanese in Japan is just ridiculous. If you are reading this as employee of companies listed above, or companies that bans games for Japanese on steam, please provide us a reasonable reason for this.

PS: you can just copy paste this article on your blog as if you wrote it because I want it to be spread.

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  1. […] How it sucks to be a PC gamer in Japan | たび日記 […]

  2. givecake より:

    Hey man. Since you wrote this in English, I can only assume your English is really good. In which case, you can get and buy and activate all those games on your steam via a different IP address. It doesn’t solve the language problem, but it’s something, right? Get yourself a VPN.

    • Tabi より:

      VPN partially solves the problem. To purchase the game using U.S. VPN, you have to have U.S. credit card. If you managed to get U.S. credit card, you will be able to purchase anything you wish at global price. However, some games like Dark Souls 2 does not give you Japanese language if you purchase via VPN as Bandai Namco sell different version of the same game.(DS2 with Japanese and without Japanese, aka NA version and JP version)

  3. Alexandra より:

    Your blog post was mentioned on the NeoGAF message board:

  4. YUYUE より:




  5. Namsan the god of the earth より:


  6. Fwhat より:

    Do you think this will change with Steam supporting the Yen soon?

    • Tabi より:

      I think so. I think that supporting Japanese yen encourages region-unlocking. I do think that this will raise price of games to match Japanese full price (at least $70) as well though.

  7. radament より:

    That’s terrible. I hope the situation improves soon. The easier it is for people to game on PC, the better it is for everyone else!

  8. Sagacity159 より:

    I wish you luck man, this is a real issue and needs a lot more attention. Nothing excuses such ridiculous overcharge rates.

  9. alfons より:

    i didn’t know steam lock so many games in japan.. i always think it’s good to be pc gamer in japan..
    because you can get your games easily..
    but i’m wrong -_-
    i hope this problem will be quickly over..

  10. 通りすがりな外人 より:

    Crapcom and Squeenix sure are cancer.

  11. Tomelyr より:

    You could also try to use Paysafecards in combination with the EU Tier 1 or UK Steamstore.

    You don’t need to own an Debit or Credit card for it, you don’t need to enter an Adress and you can check SteamDB forehand, to check if you can Crosstrade the gift.

    An EU or UK IP is quite easily generated with TOR or other VPN/Tunneling Programs and if you create an mule account, even if they ban it, you doesnt care much about it.

    just my tips about it. i know that restricting Acces to Games suck, since i’m german. We still got the games, but most of the times cutted.

  12. Balls より:

    I recently moved to Japan for my studies and I encountered this problem too. This is going to sound brash and rude but really just YOLO it and pirate the game. Shouldn’t really have to worry about people that doesn’t want to take our money or trying to rip us off.

    Instead of trying to grow the Japanese PC gaming market why make it that its even more difficult and gating the PC market even more.

  13. RJ より:

    Wow, I guess that explains why PC gaming isn’t very popular over there then, huh? Most just chalk it up to space issues or nobody caring.

    I’ll be sure to spread the message when I can. It certainly can’t hurt.

  14. ニュージーランド人 より:

    I understand, because I live in New Zealand and prices are very high here. But the reason is obvious: target demographic.

    “The Lord of the Rings” movies were filmed in NZ – many films were filmed in NZ – much like “Flight of the Concords”, but I can’t watch them on American streaming services (like Netflix), because they are IP locked. It’s original content made by New Zealanders, but New Zealanders can’t access it. Well, a similar situation is happening with Steam and Japanese.

    The origin of the content does not matter. All that matters is the distribution method, and the distribution method’s target audience. In this case, Steam is the distribution method, and these games (even though they’re Japanese), are aimed at a target audience: the English-speaking world.

    Yes, it’s nonsense and silly, but that’s just how things are! Another example: Shin Megami Tensei IV was released in America (in English) 07/16/13, and in Europe/Australia/New Zealand 10/30/14. Why? Both areas are English-speaking countries, so why did people outside of America have to wait 1+ year for the same game, in the same language, for the same handheld?

    Why do people in various European countries have to pay more money for the same thing, just because of their location? It’s nonsense and silly, but that’s just how things are.

    But I agree with you. Steam’s support for Japanese and residents of Japan is horrible. There is no written contract (in Japanese) for Japanese developers to use. Treasure didn’t know how to approach Valve, so they put Ikaruga on Steam’s Greenlight service first. Absolutely pathetic. Valve as a corporation needs to strengthen their ties with Japanese developers instead of simply relying on publishers of Japanese games. I don’t see it happening any time soon though.


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